In Wisconsin one of the best things someone who loves food can hear is that a brewing company is opening a restaurant. Inevitably the menu will feature some great Wisconsin favorites, lightly-fried beer-battered goodies, great sandwiches and a great beer cheese soup recipe. Wisconsin Brewing Co. Tap Haus fits that bill perfectly. The former Capital Tap Haus on State Street reopened in January as the Wisconsin Brewing Co. Tap Haus, with Wisconsin Brewing Company in Verona. I ate at Capital Tap Haus a couple times and didn’t think the food was particularly memorable, but my first meal at Wisconsin Brewing Co. Tap Haus definitely was.
The menu looked pretty standard for a tap haus, but the two things I tried were better than standard. I started with the beer cheese soup. Sometimes beer cheese soup can be way too cheesy and sometimes the beer can be way too strong. But the bowl I had at WBC Tap Haus was just right — it had a creamy, cheese flavor and texture, and the beer was just strong enough to cut the heavy cheesiness. The popcorn on top added a great salty crunch, but I would have liked a couple more kernels.
The fish fry, offered every day of the week BTW, was also good. The coleslaw wasn’t as creamy is traditional fish fry coleslaw is, but it was light and refreshing and crunchy. The fish, which is a pretty big serving for lunch, was hot and crispy and had a great beer-battered flavor, but I would have liked the batter to be a little lighter. And even though the fries weren’t as crispy as I’d like, the skins added a great flavor and they were perfectly salted.
FOOD NOTES: The change over from one brewery to another at the tap haus at the top of State Street was pretty seamless. I didn’t even know the brewery had changed, but the menu definitely tipped me off. There’s a good variety of dishes, but I’d stick with the Wisconsin favorites because nothing goes better with Wisconsin food than beer!
Stop No. 2 on my Winter 2014 Restaurant Week itinerary was Quivey’s Grove Stable Grill for lunch. Quivey’s Grove has two stand-alone dining rooms – the Stable Grill and the fancier Stone House. The Stable Grill has a rustic bar and a dining room with winding and connected staircases going up to a couple different levels. It’s a very interesting building, and the extensive use of barn wood makes the whole place feel very welcoming and homey. Because of the crazy amount of steps I congratulate all waitstaff on their work! Our waitress was very nice, fast and efficient.
Generally there are multiple things on restaurant week menus that I want to try so I usually suggest the person I go to dinner with and I split everything. At Quivey’s Grove my mom and I did just that! For appetizers we got the sausage sampler that had grilled Bavaria sausage, cherry kraut and cheddar sauce. I’m a big fan of Bavaria sausage and grilling it just made it better. The kraut was perfectly sweet and sour, and the cheddar sauce was so good I kept it for my french fries that came with my entree!
We also got the tomato bisque. The soup was good. I had chunks of tomato and carrots in it, but the flavor was nothing special. The thing that made the dish special was the grilled cheese crouton. When I read that on the menu I was expecting a couple small, crunchy pieces of bread with cheese on top. But instead what we got was an actual mini grilled cheese sandwich! It was two small pieces of crunchy baguette bread with a nice amount of cheese in the middle! A mini grilled cheese sandwich floating on top of tomato soup – what a cute idea!
For entrees we got the cheeseburger and the fish fry. The cheeseburger came with fried onions, bacon, mayo and barbecue sauce on top. It was a very large burger, and the ingredients were quality. My fish fry was excellent and a huge serving. The beer batter on the two pieces of whitefish was the perfect consistency and had a great flavor that wasn’t overpowered by the beer. The three pretzel-crusted pieces of perch tasted like super sophisticated versions of fish sticks. I loved them! The basket also came with french fries that were made even better by the cheddar sauce from my appetizer!
There were three options for dessert: turtle pie, caramel apple steamed pudding and a hot fudge brownie sundae. The hot fudge brownie sundae was simple but good. The brownie was chocolatey and chewy, and the ice cream was great with the hot fudge. It was definitely the perfect ending to a good Wisconsin meal. The turtle pie was huge. It was basically a caramel pecan pie with a lot of bavarian chocolate cream on top. It was good but very sweet.
FOOD NOTES: I have zero complaints about my Restaurant Week meal at Quivey’s Grove Stable Grill. The appetizers were clever and extremely tasty. The entrees had quality and quantity going for them, and I absolutely loved the pretzel crusted fish! The desserts were unapologetically simple, just the way I like desserts!I definitely hope to go back again for their regular menu!